So You’ve Been Funded. What Next?

If you’re in marketing at one of the many health IT and health services firms who experienced a round of funding in the first half of the year, you’re likely done with the celebrations and now turning to the business at hand. With a new cadre of investors and increased market pressure on your back, there’s no time to lose.

The competition is stiffer than ever, and start-ups are coming out of the woodwork. In this environment, the companies that will shine are those with focused, driven marketing leaders on hand. Here are five steps to getting a streamlined, prioritized marketing program in place that takes advantage of the new funding and builds your own brand internally.

Step 1: ID Your Investor Champions

Different venture funds have different views about the power of brand and marketing – but there will almost always be one internal champion amongst your new investors.

Set up meetings with your new investors to understand their priorities, identify which of them are marketing champions, and establish yourself as a valuable partner. From there, you can tailor your marketing program in ways that align to what they see as most important – and find more success when you make the ask for a slice of the overall post-funding budget.

Step 2: Rethink Your Messaging

With funding often comes a new direction – a stated intent to reach a new market, expand an existing capability, or re-engineer your business model. As such, it’s likely that your original company messaging will need some work.

Going through a coordinated positioning exercise is an excellent way to elevate the marketing function with the C-suite, Board, and investors.  Since messaging is often deeply personal to company founders, work with an outside consultant or agency that knows the market well and is empowered to push back and ask the hard questions.

Step 3: Woo Your New Sales Partners

Hiring new staff is a cornerstone of funding activities, and a more sophisticated sales team is often part of the package. Get in with your new comrades and understand exactly what is being asked of them – then become their new best friend.

In today’s era of digitally driven customer engagement, sales and marketing teams no longer need to be from opposite planets. It’s easier than ever to align these functions with the help of integrated marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Marketers who take the lead on formalizing the lead generation process will become indispensable to organizational success.

Step 4: Take a Hard Look at Your Website

Gone are the days when websites were simply evidence of company credibility; it’s now your most important brand and sales tool. If you think your company is ready for a website overhaul – as it probably is – just be thoughtful about how you present it to your executive team, and be even more thoughtful about the partner you choose to help you architect and build it.

Your ask of the executive team should be for a new sales enablement strategy, not a design project. Back it up with evidence on how SEO, content strategy, content marketing, and lead generation efforts can help sales teams spend less time on upfront engagement and lead qualification and more time pursuing and signing the customers who are primed to buy.

Step 5: Become a Competitive Intelligence Powerhouse

This is easily one of the most forgotten ingredients to being an indispensable partner to the C-suite. Competitive intelligence is “owned” by different people within every organization, and if no one has already staked a claim on it, you should dive in quickly.

With new funding and a new company direction, knowing what all the adjacent competitors are up to is essential. And when you can back up your marketing asks by pointing back to what your competitors are – and are not – doing, your chances of securing budget for a critical project look a lot better.

June 22, 2015
Your funding comes with strings attached — so where do you go from here?
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